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Comelec summons Marcos over petition to cancel his candidacy

BONGBONG MARCOS FB PAGE

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has sent a summons to Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. over the petition filed by taxpayers to cancel his candidacy for president.

The summons was issued on Nov. 11 and was set to be served on Nov. 12, the poll body’s spokesman James B. Jimenez told reporters in a Viber message.

“We are awaiting proof of service,” he said. “The respondent will have five days to file an answer.”

Mr. Jimenez on Thursday said it could take weeks to resolve a petition seeking to disqualify the namesake and only son of the late dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos, from the presidential race.

A group of taxpayers had asked the election body to block the presidential run of Mr. Marcos, saying he is ineligible to run for office after a trial court convicted him in 1995 for failing to pay his income taxes and for material misrepresentation in his candidacy paper.

His conviction by a trial court was upheld by the Court of Appeals and was never appealed before the Supreme Court, said the petition filed at the poll body. He is thus disqualified from holding any public office as he was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of violating the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC), it said.

Mr. Marcos made false material representation in his certificate of candidacy when he stated that he has not been found liable for an offense which carries with it the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office, the petition states.

The material misrepresentation is more than enough ground for the poll body to cancel Mr. Marcos’ candidacy, or to deny due course to the same, several professionals said separately in their motion to join the petition filed by the civic leaders.

The Comelec’s Second Division, which is composed of Commissioners Socorro B. Inting and Antonio T. Kho, Jr., will handle the case. Mr. Inting was an appellate court justice, while Mr. Kho used to be a Justice undersecretary.

Political analysts have said that Mr. Marcos might run in tandem with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who left the regional party she founded to join a national party that could pave the way for her to run for a national position via substitution.

Ms. Duterte-Carpio will likely announce her 2022 plans at the weekend, said Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party.

The daughter of Rodrigo R. Duterte, the current president, joined the party backed by ex-President Gloria M. Arroyo, a known power broker in Philippine politics, “for a possible run in the national arena,” the lawmaker said.

Mr. Romualdez, a cousin of Mr. Marcos, said the late dictator’s son and Ms. Duterte-Carpio “have been in talks for some time now.”

Ms. Carpio may run for a national post via substitution, which allows a political party to replace a member who filed a certificate of candidacy with another member. Filing ended on Oct. 8, but substitution is allowed until Nov. 15.

Mr. Marcos registered his presidential candidacy in October, angering activists and victims of his late father’s 14 year-long martial rule.

His family was forced to flee the country in 1986 after a people power uprising supported by military generals toppled his father’s regime. He was among the first members of the family to return to the Philippines from exile in the United States in 1991. — Kyle Aristophere Atienza

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